THE 2013 Womens Rugby League World Cup gets underway in the United Kingdom today and two Burleigh Bears will be representing the Australian Jillaroos.
Tahnee Norris (right side in photo) will co-captain the side in her fourth World Cup campaign while Karina Brown will be making her international debut on the wing.
Playing at lock, Tahnee has been a fixture of the Australian team for the past 15 years and her enthusiasm for representing and leading her country has not waned.
Its an amazing honour to be put in that position and to be given that respect and lead the girls onto the park; I just cant wait, Tahnee said.
Anytime you throw on the Australian jersey it is exciting. It doesnt matter if it is my first game or my last game I think Ill be excited as soon as I put on the jersey and sing the national anthem.
That excitement is perhaps even rawer for Karina who has had to fight back from a shoulder reconstruction to even be fit to play.
The dangerous fullback/winger has only played three games this season, but has done enough in the past to prove to selectors that she can get the job done.
I was just overwhelmed because I was on my way back from a shoulder reconstruction and I still hadnt played a game yet this season, Karina said of her selection.
It was a big confidence booster that they picked me on past form.
Im not even that nervous just yet. I dont think it will sink in until Im on the plane. Im getting pretty excited but not nervous just yet.
When asked who she was most excited to be representing Australia alongside of, Karina was full of praise for her Burleigh teammate.
Tahnee has been a team mate of mine for two years now and has been part of the international game for 15 years, so to run out next to her in what will possibly be her last World Cup is pretty special to me because she is such a great girl, Karina said.
Shes really calm and that shows on the field as well. Even if were not going too well shell keep her composure and that helps keep you relaxed.
"I think there is a good mix of experience and youth in the squad.
Tahnees experience and leadership will be invaluable to entire squad as she has competed at each of the three previous World Cups.
She and her teammates will be desperate to break through and win the Cup for the first time, breaking the stranglehold New Zealand has had on the tournament.
Its huge for us, Tahnee said of the Womens World Cup.
Were getting these curtain raisers to a number of events around Australia State of Origins, Broncos games; things like that but this is the pinnacle for our sport and to be able to represent at that international level is what every female playing rugby league wants to do.
Its a big occasion and I cant wait to get out there.
Tahnee, Karina and the rest of the 2013 Jillaroos squad met in Sydney on Tuesday before they headed off to the UK.
A full draw for the Jillaroos and how you can follow their progress can be found here: Jillaroos Set Off for World Cuptitle
Australian Jillaroos Squad
Emma Young (Maitland, NSW), Elianna Walton (Canley Heights, NSW), Julie Young NSW (Maitland, NSW), Ruan Sims (Cronulla, NSW), Jessica Palmer (Penrith, NSW), Jo Barrett (Brighton, QLD), Rebecca Young (Maitland, NSW), Samantha Hammond (Helensburgh, NSW), Emily Andrews NSW (Helensburgh, NSW), Alex Sulusi (Canley Heights, NSW), Tegan Chandler (Helensburgh, NSW), Emma Tonegato (Helensburgh, NSW), Jenni-Sue Hoepper (Springfield QLD), Deanna Turner (Mackay, QLD), Heather Ballinger (Cairns, QLD), Nat Dwyer (Augustine Hills, QLD), Renae Kunst (West End, QLD), Steph Hancock (Killarney, QLD), Tahnee Norris (Robina, QLD), Carina Brown (QLD), Karyn Murphy (West End, QLD), Ali Brigginshaw (Ripley, QLD), Amber Saltner (Cherbourg, QLD), Tarah Westera (Penrith, NSW).